Unconventional Company Culture Needs Unconventional Learning and Development


There has been a lot of buzz in recent years surrounding companies’ experimentation with organizational structures. In attempt to boost employee satisfaction, reduce turnover, and avoid stagnation, many corporations are dismantling conventional hierarchies and in favor of startlingly new approaches.

Zappos’ adoption of Holacracy, which replaced its management operation with a peer-to-peer accountability system, Spotify’s “squads,” and Google’s bold move to give employees the ability to craft their own jobs, have shaken up the business world sparking a conversation that is making people think about work in a whole new way.

Some organizations now have roles that do not even fit within a specific department. Instead, these employees function like semi-independent, in-house “freelancers” who may work with a particular team one day and another team the next.

Companies that experiment with alternative management structures such as Skyscanner’s tribes, will require alternative learning and development structures as well. Employees who may frequently change roles, departments, or teams will need to be given the tools they need to easily and quickly transition between different environments. This calls for job training that occurs more frequently and at an accelerated pace.

Organizations who are interested in exploring these progressive approaches to company culture should have the following processes in place before diving in:

Make it Easy to Find Experts

Employees who will be dabbling in multiple roles and working with different teams and departments must be prepared to tackle their assignments. In order to do that, they need easy access to the internal experts i.e. employees with experience in the role who can provide them with assignments and explain to them what their responsibilities will entail.

Make it Easy to Find Information

Use technology platforms to centralize the information your employees need in order to execute their jobs efficiently. Strategically use internal list servs and file sharing applications to make the information easily accessible.

Make it Easy to Share

Adopt a process, tool, or management software that makes it easy for your employees and departments to cross-pollinate ideas and share their knowledge with each other.This can be done through sharing informational content in the form of training videos, whitepapers, documents, slide decks, and more. Make sure it’s easy for your teams to discuss this content and provide feedback in real time.